Birmingham Jazz Orchestra



Not for the latest generation of Scottish jazz musicians the modest small group recording of a few originals mixed with takes on standards. Like his drummer, Jonathan Silk, Edinburgh trumpeter Sean Gibbs makes his debut with a full-blown five-piece suite inspired by an inspired selection of verse from the canon of the National Bard and arranged for a seventeen-piece ensemble.

Released on August 11, a month after his 22nd birthday, Burns is an undertaking of astonishing maturity with its musical inspiration on this side of the Atlantic and the work of a generation that included, Mike Westbrook, Johnny Dankworth, and Gibbs' own hero Kenny Wheeler. If the young composer's writing is not yet as experimental as theirs, his arranging for a group from the city of the conservatoire where he studies shows a remarkably acuity, with his knowledge of the talents of the players evident in the selection of apposite soloists throughout. Love In The Guise Of Friendship and To A Mountain Daisy are beautifully contemplative while opener Tam O'Shanter and closer Address To The Toothache have a confident swagger and the somewhat abrupt end to the latter suggests that young Gibbs is far from finished with the project. Comparisons with his one-time mentor Tommy Smith's work with the late Edwin Morgan would also not be that wide of the mark.

Keith Bruce